Blog Entry

For Orlando, Dwight decision is matter of timing

Posted on: December 14, 2011 10:26 am
By Matt Moore

To trade or not to trade, that is the question.

Whether tis better to suffer the slings and arrows of rebuilding or... OK, I'm done with that intro. Ken Berger of reports that talks between New Jersey and Orlando "gained momentum" Tuesday night and confirmed an report that the two teams have brought in Portland and another team to facilitate a deal. Portland would be sending Gerald Wallace to Orlando while getting draft picks and the cap space to sign Jamal Crawford. Granted, this makes no sense as constructed since Gerald Wallace is a near-All-Star and significantly better than Jamal Crawford, but we don't know the particulars of the deal yet or the additional team. 

For Orlando, the decision is complex, but boils down to a few factors for a simple formula. 

Circus surrounding Dwight this season and possible impact on chemistry + theoretical cap savings, first-round picks, and young players > or < the odds of convincing Howard to stay with a successful season. If it's greater than, take the deal, if not, wait. There's timing involved here. The Magic have to determine if the cost of dealing with this nonsense for another three months is worth a possible improvement in a deal if the deadline comes and New Jersey or the Lakers realize there's a chance they could miss out. As much as both suitors would try and force leverage by saying the Magic have to make a deal because they could lose Dwight for nothing, the Magic have the alternative.

Essentially, the Magic response is: "Without Dwight, we're going to be terrible, with or without picks and young players. So it's a bonus for us if we get something. For you, if you don't get Dwight, all your efforts are for nothing" and in the case of the Nets, that means the potential loss of Deron Williams. Howard's value at the deadline could be higher as teams get desperate. The Nets tipped their hand last season with their pursuit of Carmelo Anthony, offering up everything they could and having owner Mikhail Prokhorov meet with Anthony during All-Star Weekend. That same smell of desperation would be even more pungent at the deadline should the Nets be facing having sacrificed their future to get Deron Williams only to watch him walk away if they don't land Howard. There will be suitors for both men, including Williams' hometown team of Dallas.

But on the other side of that, the Magic do have to deal with this circus. Trips to New Jersey, New York, Los Angeles for either team, Dallas, Chicago will all be unbearable because of the storylines. Teammates will know their future is uncertain because of Howard's decision-making, and that will affect chemistry. That's not to say they can't overcome it, but there are consequences to constant speculation. Howard's decision has a thousand impacts on this league, and everyone is waiting to see what happens.

If Orlando wants to keep him, if they really truly believe it when he said he would consider staying, then they can try and swing a trade to improve the team and in doing so gamble even more of their future on keeping Howard. A strike-out and the Magic have set the franchise back a decade. But if you believe Howard leaving makes that the case regardless, it may make it easier to swallow.

The Magic have been reticent in these talks since the beginning. As opposed to New Orleans, who clearly are doing everything possible to get a deal done, provided the league will get out of the way and let them, the Magic aren't rushing to collapse this window of contention. From here on out it's matter of figuring out what the timing is and whether being a part of all this offseason insanity and having it carry over into the season is worth it.  
Since: Dec 14, 2011
Posted on: December 14, 2011 3:18 pm
This comment has been removed.

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Since: Dec 5, 2006
Posted on: December 14, 2011 3:02 pm

On trading Howard and Paul

The news cycle is full of the on-again off-again nature of trades for two premier NBA players this season. Everyone knows that the 2nd best player in the league (Howard) is on the block. Everyone knows that the 6th best player in the league is on the block. So the media strings together possible scenarios and reports them as rumor or as 'working on' that trade. This provokes reaction from players, teams or both trying to do damage control while trying to complete their trades.

Essentially the best of outcomes for the league will be for Howard to end with the Nets, providing cross-town rivalry for the Knicks; for Paul to end with the Clippers, providing cross-town-locker room rivalry with the Lakers. The media are happy because the big cities get the dominant teams. The fans are happy because the teams with the largest metro areas get competitive. The players are happy because such rivalries promote advertising and broadcasting and merchandise revenues. The small market teams, at least under the new CBA, have an opportunity to become profitable even if they cannot win a championship so the owners should also be mollified. Who does that leave out? It leaves out me. It leaves out you unless you live on one of those cities. We are collateral damage. This is the reality. Better get used to it.

Since: Dec 14, 2011
Posted on: December 14, 2011 1:54 pm

For Orlando, Dwight decision is matter of timing

Not sure why the media and general public cannot understand how the Nets are the more desperate team in any NJ-Orlando discussions.  The Nets have plenty of cap-space next summer.  If they truly were not desperate, then they would call Orlando's bluff, wait until the deadline, and then try again OR just wait until next summer and let Dwight walk to NJ without giving up anything.

From Orlando's point of view- there should be no rush at all unless the deal is just too good to pass up (read: Bynum AND Gasol).

We all know Dwight is a guy who wants to be well-liked, and actually will feel bad about leaving Orlando, as opposed to say, Carmelo, who just wanted out of Denver regardless.  Let the season start.  Let Dwight be around these guys that he cares about.  Let Dwight hear from the fans in Orlando who desperately want him to stay.  Let the Magic win some basketball games and remind him they are a contender, especially while that NJ team struggles. 

What's the harm here for the Magic? That he might actually like being in Orlando? If it's not working out, he can be traded at any point over the next three months. 

But for NJ-- they need to acquire Dwight now before any of the above things happen.  Before Dwight gets the emotional pull that will surely be coming to stay.  Before the Magic find a better deal.  Before they are stuck trying to convice Deron Williams next summer that they can convince Dwight to walk away from the Magic (or wherever) in free agency.  Before they have to consider trading Deron Williams.

It's really not hard to grasp that it's NJ trying to get this done now.  Only bad things happen for NJ the longer this plays out.  Waiting until January or February or even March really changes nothing for the Magic.

Since: Sep 15, 2006
Posted on: December 14, 2011 1:36 pm

For Orlando, Dwight decision is matter of timing

The guy below me doesn't want Lopez, but I'd take Lopez any day over Andrew "Mash Unit" Bynum.  The guy is always hurt and when he is on the court, he isn't really any great shakes.  Lopez produces real numbers and is durable.

Since: Aug 29, 2011
Posted on: December 14, 2011 12:27 pm

For Orlando, Dwight decision is matter of timing

As much as I hate the Lakers, they are the only team with enough bargaining chips to deal for Howard.  I would like to see Orlando getting two big men that can do something.  I don't really want Lopez, but Wallace is a good pick up.

I'm an Orlando fan, not a Howard fan.  So, the future of this team is more imporant to me.  Although, I would like D12 to stay!

Since: Dec 10, 2006
Posted on: December 14, 2011 11:09 am

For Orlando, Dwight decision is matter of timing

Orlando are stuck between a rock and a hard place. If they try to keep Howard, they just don't have the cap space and trade chips to build a championship team around him. They made too many bad contract decisions and now must pay for it. Thus they have no chance of retaining Howard. If they wait it out with the false hope that somehow Hedo will start earning his money, they will get little or nothing for Howard.

If however they make sure Hedo's bad contract goes with Howard and they pick up some young talent and draft picks, at least they will have gotten out from underneath the mess that they are currently under.

I think Lopez, Gerald Wallace and draft picks is a pretty good deal and they should take a week to seriously consider it. That week will give Lakers and Dallas some time to present counter offers and Orlando will lose their star but come out of this with some pretty decent pieces.

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